Devotional, 3rd and final draft

Proverbs 2: 1-6

“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,

and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.

For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Drowning in Wisdom

A young student was eager to learn the ways of wisdom, and decided to visit Socrates to ask him a burning question. After Socrates answered the door to his home, the student asked, “Teacher,” he said, “how can I gain wisdom and insight, like you?” Without hesitation, Socrates pushed past the boy, through the door, and continued walking down the road toward the local body of water. The student, confused and a bit worried, followed the teacher on this unknown journey. Without pause, Socrates continued to walk into the water until the cool liquid was about waist deep; the loyal student did so as well. Once they both reached a waist-deep point in the water (the student, very wet and very baffled at this point) Socrates turned to face his inquisitive pupil and placed his hands on his shoulders.  Looking questioning into his teacher’s eyes, the young boy was thrust down so that he was completely submerged into the water. The student struggled and struggled, trying to break free from the teacher’s strong grasp. After a few moments, Socrates released the boy. The student sprang to the surface, gasping for breath and looking angry and perplexed. Socrates asked him, “When you were drowning, what was it that you wanted most in that very moment?” The visibly shaken student blurted, “I wanted to breathe.” Socrates, with a wry smile proclaimed, “When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you wanted to breath, it is then you shall have it.”  The teacher turned, and began to walk toward the shore, leaving his pupil there in the water.

As Christians, we are called to continually seek God’s wisdom for all areas of our lives. We are much like the young student who was looking to gain perspective on a pressing issue in his life: we want informed answers.  We lift up prayers for financial miracles, travelling mercies, guidance, and discernment. We seek and pray and fast and yearn, in hopes of having divine revelations that will shine figurative light on our spiritual path. “Lord, should I take this job?” “Father, is it time for me to move to Atlanta?” “Savior, is this relationship rooted in your will or my own?” “Heavenly counselor, how do I know this is of You and not the enemy?” Like the young pupil in the Socrates story, we are constantly seeking God’s discernment in our lives, and in seeking Him, we can sometimes find surprising results.

The word tells us in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” If this is the faith we are called to have, this blind, un-dying faith, it can also be said that sometimes, God calls us to follow Him through situations that are not glamorous or uplifting. Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Why would the word need to make such a bold statement, if faith was so easy? Why would we be constantly reminded of how important it is to hold on to our faith, if there wasn’t a threat of losing it at some point? Do you think Socrates’ student felt all too faithful as he watched his teacher meander through waist- deep- lake water? I doubt it. Do you think he felt keen about his philosophical leader after he was almost drowned by him? Again, it’s doubtful. Yet, the wisdom this student gained from his teacher was priceless. The journey was scary, and the student had no clue what was going to happen along the way.  At times it probably seemed as though all hope was lost, and his original desire for wisdom was quickly replaced by desires for dry land, direction, and eventually breath.  However, what this young student sought, he found. In asking for wisdom, it was gained. Though his lesson was learned in way he never could have imagined, he got what he asked for.

Do you ever feel this way about your own journey with Christ? Has God ever asked you step so far out in faith that without Him, you would not survive that first step? Have you ever felt as though you were drowning while simply trying to seek answers from the Lord? This is why we are called to such an unrelenting faith; even though the journey will be confusing, God still needs and wants us to press forward with an unfailing love and desire for Him.

In Genesis 12, we read about ‘The Call’ of Abram, whom God renames Abraham.  “The Lord said to Abram,” Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.” With a covenant like that, it shouldn’t have been a hard decision for Abraham to leave what was familiar to him behind and walk forward in God’s promises. However, once Abraham reaches the land promised by God, he and the people of Israel experience a famine. Interestingly enough we learn from Abraham’s experience that you can be in the will of God and still face increasing turmoil.God knew there would be famine, God knew there would be trouble, yet He still told Abraham to go on this sojourn, knowing He would protect and provide all his needs along the way. This journey did not play out as Abraham probably imagined from his first encounter with the Lord,  in fact, Abraham probably felt as though he was drowning at times. Yet, he continued to pray and seek God’s will and wisdom, because his  faith in and desire for God was greater than his desire for anything else.

Our faith is called upon to be unshaken, unmovable, and unbreakable. We have to seek God, and to run after Him with a desperation that surpasses no other desire in us. The journey of our faith will not always make sense. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that at times we will feel lost, forsaken, and gasping for breath. In spite of all of that, if we continue to seek Him and do what He wants, the prayers that we petition will be answered in God’s timing. If we ask for wisdom, we will receive it because of how faithful and true God’s word is. We have to keep going in faith and believe God at His word. It is imperative that we keep praying and believing so that God may continue His good work in us.  We are called to follow God through waist deep waters and He needs and wants us to keep going! In short, when we want to follow the will of God as desperately as we need to breathe, it is then we shall have it.

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My first devotional

LORD HAVE MERCY! Please read this and tell me your comments on my twitter (@danniwrites) or here. This is my first devotional and I don’t know what I am doing but I have to do this for my Tuesday class. Does it make sense? Be kind! Danni

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Job 14:9-11 (New International Version)

9 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.

10 But man dies and is laid low;
he breathes his last and is no more.

11 As water disappears from the sea
or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,

Following God Through Rocky Terrain

A young student was eager was learn the ways of wisdom and decided to visit Socrates to ask him a burning question. After Socrates answered the door to his home, the student asked, “Teacher, how can I gain wisdom and insight, like you?” Without hesitation, Socrates pushed past the boy, through the door, and continued walking down the road toward the local body of water. The student, confused and a bit worried, followed the teacher on this unknown journey. Without pause, Socrates continued to walk into the water until the cool liquid was about waist deep; the loyal student did so as well. Once they both reached this point in the water, Socrates turned to face his student, who was very close behind him, placed his hands on his shoulders, and pushed the young boy down so that his whole body was submerged into the water. The student struggled and struggled, trying to break free from the teacher’s strong grasp. After a few moments, Socrates released the boy. The student sprang to the surface, gasping for breath and looking angry and perplexed. Socrates asked him, “When you were drowning, what was it that you wanted most in that very moment?” Shocked, the student blurted, “I wanted to breathe.” Socrates, with a wry smile proclaimed, “When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you wanted to breath, it is then you shall have it.”  The teacher turned, and began to walk toward the shore, leaving his pupil there in the water.

Often time, we seek God’s wisdom for all areas of our lives. We lift up prayers for financial miracles, travelling mercies, guidance, and discernment. We seek and pray and fast and yearn, in hopes of having divine revelations that will shine figurative light on our spiritual path. “Lord, should I take this job?” “Father, is it time for me to move to Atlanta?” “Savior, is this relationship rooted in your will and not my own?” “Heavenly counselor, how do I know this of You and not the enemy?” Like the young student in the Socrates story, we are constantly seeking God’s wisdom in our lives, and the answer is often surprising.

I prayed and fasted for months after the Lord spoke graduate school into my life. I was confused and felt very alone, as I began taking steps to line up close with God’s will. I asked for wisdom, and insight, and discernment on an hourly basis. I sought pastors, Christian counselors, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit constantly and often still felt confused. There were times when I was brought to my knees, just wanting to know if I could get a little glimpse into what God wanted. Through this process, I learned that our faith doesn’t always work that way.

The word tells us in Hebrews 11 1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. If this is the faith we are called to have, this blind, un-dying faith, it can also be said that sometimes, God calls us to follow Him through some rocky terrain. Galatians 6:9 says this: 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Why would the word need to make such a bold statement, if faith was so easy? Why would we be constantly reminded of how important it is to hold on to our faith, if there wasn’t a threat of losing it at some point? Do you think Socrates’ student felt all too faithful as he watched his teacher meander through waist deep lake water? I doubt it. Do you think he felt keen about his philosophical leader after he was almost drowned by him? Again, I doubt it. Yet, the wisdom this student gained from his teacher was priceless. The journey was scary, at times seemed as though all hope was lost, but in the end, he was better for it. Do you ever feel this way about your own journey with Christ? Has God ever asked you step so far out in faith that without Him, you would not survive that step? Have you ever felt as though you were drowning while simply trying to seek answers from the Lord?

In Genesis 12, we read about The Call of Abram, whom God renames Abraham.  Verse 1, The Lord said to Abram,” Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.” With a promise like that, it should have been no hard decision for good old Abe to leave what was familiar to him behind, and walk forward in God’s promises. However, once he reaches the land God sends him to, his first encounter is with a famine. Interestingly enough, we learn from this that you can be smack dab in the will of God, and still face turmoil.

So, our faith is called upon to be finite and unbreakable; our prayers are answered in God’s timing; if we ask for wisdom we will receive the wisdom God knows we need. In short, when we want to follow the will of God as badly as we want breath in our bodies, it is then we shall have it. The road will not always be smooth; road signs might not always be pointing in the right direction; our desires might not line up with God’s will, but in the end if we seek Him and want what He wants, we have to just keep going. We have to just keep praying, believing, and breathing.  We are called to follow God through rocky terrain, we are called to want God like we want the breath in our body, we are called; and that’s the blessing in its self.

Looking Ahead (When your past won’t leave you alone)

I have often been the person who consistently thinks she is missing out on something. Be it, the good time everyone will have without me at the party, or the amazing message at church the one Sunday I miss, or the blessing God planned for me but I messed up too much to receive it. I have lived in Atlanta for a little over a month now, and if I have learned anything about life, it’s that it is PARAMOUNT to always look ahead, regardless of what’s in your rearview window or to the left or right.

This practice is much easier said than done. I should know; I’ve been trying for 25..err, almost 26 years with no success. Why is it that we often think we aren’t getting what is “owed to us” or getting “everything we can” out of a situation simply because we made the choice to do something different? Am I alone in these feelings of “what-ifs”? I never wanted to be a person who didn’t follow her desires, her dreams, her heart. I never wanted to look back on my life and think, “What if I would have done  that differently?” So I have always been that person who DOES, and who IS, and strives for whatever it is my mind and heart are focussed on( with the guidance of the Lord, I hope). But in being this person who DOES, I can’t help but notice I am also the person who asks, “what if I didn’t DO?” What would have happened, or better yet, what am I missing out on by leaving? By moving? By taking that new job? What will happen without me?

Well, I have decided it’s high time I get something straight. The answer to all those questions will always be the same, so here goes:

People will move on. Someone else will take your spot. You will be missed, but life will continue without you. If you would have stayed, you would be worrying about what you missed by staying. You made the right choice. You prayed about this; you fasted! You consulted God daily and made certain you were living in His will and not your own. You have hit some road blocks, but guess what? This is not the worst situation you will ever be in, and you are NOT alone. God has been with you this entire time and He has no plans of leaving you -EVER.  Keep praying; keep seeking God, keep reading your word and don’t lose faith. With out faith you have nothing. You are just a girl, with a bunch of un-answered questions. Now, stop whining. You’re fabulous!

Whew…I didn’t realize I had that in me until I started typing it out. I needed to hear that. Maybe you did too?

Danni

Prayer Overload

So I has an interview schedule yesterday for a part time teaching gig. The lady never showed up. Nice.

I have another interview scheduled Thursday and my heart is beating fast as I think of that person canceling on me as well. Job searching is a lot like dating; you get rejected, you eat (sugar-free) ice cream, you try it all over again until ONE person accepts you (and all your flaws) and you begin forming a union together. Well on both accounts, I am REAAADAAAy to start forming that union.

I have experienced more, prayer more, cried more in the short month I have lived in Atlanta than I have in my entire life. Today I has to laugh at myself because I was repeating a prayer to God and I shook my head at what He might be saying or thinking: ” Goodness girl! You keep calling me asking me the same doggone thing, you ain’t giving me no time to do anything about it! HUSH now; let me work!”

HAH…God if funny…to me. He sounds different in different situations; today, he sounded like my best friend.

Anyway, if you could lift me up in prayer (BC He’s tired of hearing from me) I would appreciate it! This job on Thursday really seems like it would suit me; so I am going to claim the victory and would love you to come in agreement if you can!

Thanks ya’ll!

Danni